Little bit of thread-connecting here for my own mental house-keeping:
- It is being increasingly reported that state-sponsored actors around the world are using social media to covertly influence public opinion, both at home and abroad.
- It’s a known fact that the US Military/CENTCOM/Airforce awarded a contract to Ntrepid to develop an online ‘persona management system’ for exactly this purpose under Operation Earnest Voice.
- Still determing exact status of current law, but it may now be technically legal for the government to disseminate propaganda to domestic audiences.
- HBGary leaked emails describe proposed operational details of personas or “characters” for such a persona management system according to levels of developed detail.
- Official news sources report that the Russian-based Internet Research Agency used tactics like those described above to influence the outcome of the US election, infiltrate social movements and sow discord and misinformation using social media and other methods.
- Russia has a known history of using similar tactics prior to the advent of this agency (IRA), particularly in relation to manipulation of youth movement and dirty tricks in Ukraine.
- Fake news factories out of countries like Macedonia manipulated social opinion for financial gain via a network of fraudulent social media accounts and independent blog sites. It is unknown, that I can tell, whether there is any evidence made public at this time which would link especially Macedonian fake news to personnel, money, or instructions from the Internet Research Agency, or other arm of the Russian government.